The Deadliest Diseases in Brazil

As the largest economy in Latin America, Brazil is a pretty good bellwether for examining trends related to health care and medical conditions. Many of the issues faced by this large country, such as increased risks of death and disability related to heart disease and diabetes, can be found throughout the region.

However, Brazil certainly faces some of its own unique health care challenges, as well. In particular, rates of death related to Alzheimer disease have seen a major spike. Diabetes, chronic kidney disease and upper respiratory infections are also concerning issues. To get a clearer picture of the issues impacting the future of Brazilian health care, we took a closer look at the numbers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Deadly Diseases

Some of Brazil’s top causes of death in 2016 were not surprising. Ischemic heart disease, stroke and diabetes are all in the top 10 and since 2005 increased in incidence by 22.6%, 12.1% and 44.7%, respectively. But the one major outlier on Brazil’s list is Alzheimer’s disease. Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease increased in incidence by 81.2% since 2005, a bump that also raised this condition from number seven to number three on Brazil’s “cause of death” list. Also of concern are lower respiratory infection (40.5% increase in deaths since 2005) and chronic kidney disease (43.7% increase in deaths since 2005).

Diseases That Cause Disability

Among diseases that cause disability in Brazil, the causes are a little more in line with other countries around the Latin American region. Specifically, the IHME reports that low back and neck pain (22.8% increase in incidence since 2005), diseases of the sensory organs (32.1% increase since 2005), skin diseases (9.5% increase since 2005) and migraines (16.3% increase since 2005) are the heavy hitters among diseases that lead to disabilities. One interesting outlier is falls, which have led to disabilities at a 28.1% higher rate than in 2005.

Death & Disability Combined

Combine the death and disability trends in Brazil, and you can get a clearer picture of the diseases trending in a negative direction. Sensory organ diseases, diabetes and low back and neck pain all have death and disability rates that are trending over 20% higher since 2005, according to IHME.

Risks in Brazil Vs. Other Countries

Not surprisingly based on the data discussed above, rates of Alzheimer disease deaths in Brazil trend far higher than the worldwide average, but that’s not the only area of concern in Brazil on the global stage. Alarmingly, Brazil has a high rate of deaths related to violence. Its diabetes death rate also trends higher than the global average. When you add disabilities to the mix, low back and neck pain and skin diseases also trend higher in Brazil than elsewhere in the world.

How Hospitals Are Responding

While several diseases are causing alarm due to their death and disability risk, Brazil’s health care system is actively trying to meet the challenge with several growth areas. According to data from our HospiScope database, Brazil’s hospitals increased their counts of the following types of equipment:

  • A 34% increase in the number of electrocardiogram machines
  • A 10% bump in endoscopy machines
  • A 9% growth in MRI machines
  • A 7% growth in CT scanners
  • A 4% growth in X-ray machines

More Resources

Download our free HospiRank report on the best-equipped hospitals in Latin America to find out which are the best-equipped hospitals in Brazil in a variety of crucial sectors.

Next Steps

To explore about the opportunities for medical device/equipment and pharmaceutical manufacturers in Brazil, contact us for a demo of HospiScope — our LatAm hospitals database — and SurgiScope, the first database tracking surgical procedures done in Latin American hospitals.

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